New suicide prevention hotline

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There is a new suicide and mental health crisis hotline to help people in need, the hotline is available 24/7. It is a 3-digit number that is easy to remember: 988.

On Arizona Horizon is Jim Dunn, Executive Director/CEO, NAMI Arizona, to talk about what this means for mental health in the future.

Why

While there has been a national suicide hotline number for quite some time now, to make it easier for callers, the new 988 number was implemented. The original ten-digit number was hard for callers to remember, thus calling 911 in mental health cases. Therefore, to make it easier for callers, the new number was made as well as being able to direct callers to mental health professionals instead of the police.

“The police are ill-prepared for a behavioral health emergency. We’ve long tried to prepare people.”

Who

When it comes to those that are on the other side of the call, the National Alliance of Mental Illness, Valley of the Sun has directed mental health counselors to help direct and dispatch whatever service may be necessary for the situation.

“This is really an advance. It’s going to be life-saving.”

Veterans

For veterans that contact the new number, pressing the number 1 after 988 will direct them to a veteran counselor. The partnership with the VA has allowed for better resources for veterans that call the number as well as counselors with experience with veterans.

“Not every state is as prepared as we are. Thankfully we have our lines in all three regions.”

Importance

Having a number that is easy to dial and easy to remember is important for those individuals facing a mental health crisis. It allows for resources to be distributed as soon as possible. In Arizona, there is also that follows up with the individual the next day.

National Alliance of Mental Illness

As the largest advocacy group for mental illness, their partnerships have allowed them to provide outreach and education to communities.

Jim Dunn, Executive Director/CEO, NAMI Arizona

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